NASCAR: America's Sport?

Lance Freespeed

June 3, 2006

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NASCAR bills itself as "America's Sport."   I am not sure I like that. I don't think it is good for our image in a global society. After all, is it not a huge contradiction of our own ideals?

Let's forget for a moment that the rest of the world thinks NASCAR is a joke and calls it "taxicab racing."  Let's look at what NASCAR really is and compare the ideals and values that are considered to be most American, and ask ourselves why it is "America's Sport."

Freedom of Speech: When was the last time a NASCAR driver was allowed to say anything resembling his real thoughts about a NASCAR penalty or decision without fear of reprisal? I wonder how the American people would react if Jay Leno were fined for every joke he told about President Bush.

Freedom of religion: How many Jews or Muslims do you see at NASCAR races?

Equal rights: Women are valued in NASCAR of course. Even Richard Petty said that they have their place, even if he does think it's in the kitchen, and not in victory lane. I would be interested to hear what his thoughts are on Puerto Ricans, Blacks and Asians.

There seems to be some very token and half-hearted efforts to promote diversity in the sport. My opinion is that they are doing it simply so they can say they are doing it. Just ask Bill Lester. Of course, he wouldn't say anything for fear of being fined or blacklisted (no pun intended). The Japanese are coming. I will be very interested to see how they are truly received.

Let's talk about equal rights and due process when it comes to enforcement of their rules. Can you imagine if our government had a law entitled "Acts Detrimental to Democracy?"   What does that mean exactly? Would the entire Social Security Administration be in violation? How about Medicare and Welfare? Of course this is ridiculous. That entry in NASCAR's rulebook simply provides a loophole for corruption. How may people do not know about "the call"? It's the sport's worst kept secret.

Separation of Church and State: You don't have to look far to see the obvious Southern Baptist influence in the sport. I am surprised they don't have their own car. Certain "values" have always been part of the influence of the upper office of NASCAR as well. Only recently did they allow liquor into the sport. They would not allow Playboy or Maxim at the track. They did however allow them into Grand-Am, which is especially interesting. It is interesting as well, that they have never had an issue with tobacco until federal regulations made that a tough deal to keep. I find it intriguing as well, that NASCAR's connection with religion in general is also much like that of the Mafia. Organized crime has always kept the church around in their culture. I have heard many stories about hitmen actually going to confession after "whacking" a guy. It certainly is an interesting relationship and parallel.

Finally, we have to talk about NASCAR's very clear monopolistic business practices. We should be honest with ourselves and realize that America was really built on monopolies. Eventually they get broken up, but their development and presence represents an area of strength for any economy. They build up an industry to a strong enough point where it can be divided up and remain strong. All kinds of industries have had huge monopolies that have had a tremendous impact on our lives. Steel, power, and telecommunications are just a few examples. These industries may never have flourished if the initial monopoly was not allowed to develop.

Nonetheless, the American people hold tightly to their ideals and what makes us American. It seems however, that NASCAR represents everything that is the opposite. It is clearly a dictatorship bent on domination and control. They are very good at producing propaganda to give them the image of promoting equality (common templates...etc.) and other American ideals. But when you really take a look at them, they represent many things that are decidedly and clearly un-American.

So let's ask ourselves again how and why NASCAR is "America's Sport?"

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